January 6, 2006:
The U.S. Navy has ordered 16 V-22 Osprey (14 MV-22 for the marines, and another two CV-22 versions for SOCOM) tilt-wing transports. Currently, the Osprey costs about $66.2 million each. In addition, training equipment and spare parts are being purchased as well. The most expensive of these parts are the engines, which cost $2.2 million each.
The V-22 Osprey can carry 24 troops 360 kilometers (vertical take-off on a ship, level flight, landing, and return) at 700 kilometers an hour. The V-22 is replacing the CH-46E helicopter, which can carry 12 troops 135 kilometers at a speed of 350 kilometers an hour. The V-22 can carry a 10,000-pound external sling load 135 kilometers, while the CH-46E can carry 3,000 pounds only 90 kilometers. The V22 is more complex than a helicopter, and technical problems relating to that have driven up research and development costs. This, with R&D costs included, each V22 costs about $100 million. The superior performance of the V22 is expensive, but in combat it can save lives, and be the difference between victory and defeat.